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Suspension

OHLINS RFX 36 FORK

New in the line up from Swedish suspension specialists Ohlins is the RFX 36, a bigger bodied fork that offers more travel, Boost spacing and larger legs than their first fork, the RFX 34.

With 120,140 and 160mm travel models available, and no Boost hub spacing option, their first fork was up against the best from RockShox and Fox when it came to premium 29er forks. The RFX 34 was only available for a 29” wheel, a strange move some would say, especially as the 650B/27.5” market is very much flourishing and the default choice for many riders. But hey, we love the big wheels…

With Ohlins’ proven TTX technology tucked (developed from their early work with Cane Creek on their DB shock) inside and a touch of exclusivity these forks were bolted onto a Specialized Enduro 29 and put into action. We were impressed but felt for some riders they maybe weren’t quite up there with a Fox 36. These were our concluding words: “We simply expected it to be better than the Fox 36 but still, a very, very good unit and really supportive amongst the big hits, and so far utterly reliable”

Fast forward six months and we had in our hands the big brother to the Ohlins 34, the 36. As the name suggests, 2mm have been added to the stanchion diameter and again we see the TTX tech controlling the fork. This time, there’s 110mm Boost hub spacing allowing for either a 29” wheel (with heaps of clearance for wider rubber) or the new wave of 27Plus (27.5”x 2.8/3.0”) wheels.

‘So yes, in action, the longer travel and the 36mm diameter legs make sense’

So what’s new? Well, aside from the wider stanchions and hub spacing the RXF 36 seems to share a blueprint with its skinnier brother offering a forged unicrown steerer, a TTX design and a three air chamber system (two positive and one negative).

The new RXF 36 comes in 120, 140, 150, 160mm travel options with the wider stanchions will cost a negligible weight increase over the 34 RXF. The fork offset is 51mm whereas it is 46mm on the RFX 34. It’s an interesting move as Öhlins previously said its 34mm forks were equivalent in stiffness to current 35/36mm forks such as the Lyrik and the Fox 36 – that surely makes this one of, if not the, stiffest single crown forks in production.

Low and high speed compression are externally adjustable and fully independent. Thanks to the easy to tune, 3 Chamber Air spring and contrary to most of the forks available, the shape of the spring force can be adjusted, such as increasing sensitivity without bottoming out all using your regular shock pump. For those who appreciate (and understand) how to get the best from a fork these adjustments make perfect sense.

So yes, in action, the longer travel and the 36mm diameter legs make sense. Add in the (much spoke about but hard to confirm) stiffness from a wheel built around a 110mm wide Boost hub spacing and it’s the fork we would have like first time around. Like comparing a Fox 34 with a 36, when you stretch the travel you start to compromise, especially when the terrain turns ugly. For shorter travel bikes we’d be happy with the RFX 34, but on a longer stroke fork the 36 is very much the way to go.

These products now have servicing and warranty support by Öhlins trained specialist service centres J-Tech Suspension, Plush Suspension, Sprung Suspension, Sussed Out Suspension and TF Tuned.

PRICE: £995

ohlins.com

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